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Husband can’t get over pain of discovering wife’s past

Dear Abby: My wife and I have been married for 5 years. I recently discovered that she made between 10 and 20 porn videos when she was 19. We got married when she was 27. We have four kids from two previous marriages.

I am devastated. When I confronted her about it, she cried harder than I had ever seen. She said she was lost, and it's the biggest regret of her entire life.

I understand how hard it can be to tell someone you have done something like this. I haven't led a perfect life either, and I have my own skeletons and things that I would never mention. But still, I can't get over this. I have never felt pain like this in my entire life and don't know what to do. I love my wife and don't want a divorce, but it haunts my every thought. We have had a great life and I trust her completely. What should I do to get over this? – Devastated in the U.S.A.

Dear Devastated: A giant step in the right direction would be to accept that you BOTH had a history before you married each other, and you both have done things you aren't proud of. Then make a list of all the GOOD things you have together, and forgive your wife for making some painful mistakes in the past that she was too ashamed to tell you. It certainly beats divorcing a woman you love over something she can't change. If that doesn't work, then you'd be wise to seek marriage counseling.

Dear Abby: My wife verbally abuses me constantly. We have an 11-month-old child, which is the only reason I tolerate it. While I try hard not to curse back, once in a while I end up doing so.

I have sought professional help to cope with her behavior, but the suggestions haven't helped much. The situation is becoming unbearable, and I don't see it changing any time soon. What should I do? – Unbearable in Virginia

Dear Unbearable: The suggestions haven't helped because you weren't the person who needed the professional help; your wife does. In a moment when she is calm, tell her that as much as you care about her and your child, you do not intend to spend the rest of your life being her verbal whipping boy, and if she doesn't get help for her anger issues, you will leave. If she refuses, you should follow through and make sure you get equal custody, if not more, because her volatility could be harmful to your child.

Dear Abby: We are a pair of senior citizens who are very much in love. We have a lot in common and enjoy our companionship. Marriage is not an option because of pensions, bank accounts and predetermined heirs – you know the story.

We would like the whole world to know we are committed and devoted to each other. Would it be unusual, at this late stage, to become engaged with no intention of setting a wedding date? – Blissful in Florida

Dear Blissful: Rather than become engaged with no intention of formalizing your union, why not have a commitment ceremony and invite friends and family to celebrate your love for each other with you? Ask a member of the clergy to bless your union. I'm sure one would oblige because it has been done before.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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